Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers
With Valentine’s Day approaching, you may be scouring the internet to find the right gift for your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or another loved one. To help you find a special something that won’t break the bank — or can be a component of a multipart gift — we’ve rounded up 50 gifts for all types of valentines, from ultra-competitive board gamers to longtime partners who would rather just have a beer under a warm blanket — all of which are under $50. While most of the stuff is available on Amazon, we’ve found some gifts elsewhere, too, for those who like to shop around.
FinalStraw’s silicone-and-stainless-steel straws came in first in our roundup of the best reusable straws. “They thought of everything,” says content creator Deborah Shephard. “It can fit on my car keys (inside its case), it’s easy to clean (with boiling water or some good soap), and most importantly, the silicone is very comfortable to drink from.” The straw is collapsible and comes with a carrying case, making it easy to bring on the go.
“Prismacolor colored pencils are soft and waxy and make drawing feel more like it did when I was a kid, but with a little more control,” explains Strategist writer (and resident illustrator) Liza Corsillo, who included a set from the brand in her beginner’s guide to drawing.
A pinch of this “bath tea” will make their tub smell like a hinoki forest.
According to Strategist writer Dominique Pariso, this palm-size speaker will make their carefully curated songs sound good anywhere, indoors or outside. She says the “small but mighty speaker is powerful enough that I can break it out during backyard gatherings” and even has a handy silicone strap that makes it easy to attach to bike handlebars.
A pack of rolling papers in a Valentine’s Day–appropriate color palette.
Gift them a set of glasses for their favorite cocktail, like these elegant martini coupes from Strategist-favorite brand Bormioli Rocco. (And check out our guide to cocktail glasses here.)
This makeup-artist–recommended lipstick top coat, which has a cult following for its compatibility with other lipstick brands, will seal their favorite color and keep it from budging under a face mask.
Stylist Sissy Chacon satisfies her “puzzle fever” with this Hieronymus Bosch puzzle, which Strategist writer Erin Schwartz also recommends, paired with the Boschbot Twitter account, which tweets sections of the artist’s paintings every few hours. “To be up close and personal with each piece gave me a new interpretation of it as being quite joyous and innocent,” Chacon says.
This tie-dye kit from Rit — a brand popular among experts who wrote our guides to tie-dyeing — feels a bit more sophisticated than your standard summer-camp–core colors.
Consider this graceful blue bulb vase, a style recommended by photographer Bobby Doherty. “With these vases, the water goes in the sphere on the bottom and the bulb sits right on top, soaking it in and growing into a flower. You can buy a single bulb, watch the whole stem grow into a flower, and enjoy the circle of life asserting itself right before your very eyes,” writes former Strategist writer Lauren Levy.
If you and your valentine are celebrating remotely, the right light can (literally) brighten their moments spent with you. This one is a favorite of Yeardley Smith (the voice of Lisa Simpson), who says it’s also easy to tote around.
Stylish folks have told us that this book by Tyler Mitchell, the first Black photographer to shoot a cover of Vogue, is a must-have for any collector. According to Strategist contributor Elisa Johnson, “Mitchell’s images depict young Black people with such intimacy and beauty, and the book’s theme of a ‘distinctive vision of a Black utopia’ could not be more necessary right now, when Black self-love, joy, and hope is essential.”
Try a copy of Chris Ware’s Rusty Brown, the classic graphic novel that painter and Cookies Hoops podcaster Andrew Kuo called the best thing he bought for himself in 2020.
“Reading this novel is like holding a live wire in your hand,” writes Vulture book critic Hillary Kelly, who also describes the book as being “populated like a Dickens village of the queer community.”
Recommended by poet Bianca Stone, this “wonderfully assembled” Ashbery collection includes facsimiles of the poet’s drafts, notes, and annotations that will “lead down fun rabbit holes.”
This beechwood pasta-making tool from Italian brand Fante’s is good-looking enough to leave out on the counter when they’re not using it to make homemade gnocchi.
Any baker worth their salt will tell you that nothing beats baking with real vanilla pods.
“Dab it on before bed and some mornings to keep the dark circles and crow’s-feet at bay,” says Yowie founder Shannon Maldonado. “The applicator is so unique and, dare I say, fun.”
This versatile vibrator has three different motors located in the base and each arm. All can be controlled separately, making it easy to incorporate into couples play.
This set of natural beeswax candlesticks create an elegant vibe for that romantic night in. While this particular set comes with 16-inch candles, they’re also available in 12- and 8-inch heights.
These candlesticks drip colored wax as they burn, giving them a trippy, psychedelic effect and creating stalactites of rainbow wax drips.
This candle from Black-owned brand Harlem Candle Company is a favorite of Kudzi Chikumbu (@sircandleman). The candle has notes of bourbon, palo santo, and smoked incense, and Chikumbu says “it feels and looks luxury, even from the box. It’s the kind of candle you would want to have out.”
A silk sleep mask helps to block out unwanted light, making in-flight naps a little more glamorous.
Gift them a top-rated weighted blanket that one reviewer says “soothes any sort of anxiety I feel when I’m trying to go to bed.” If they don’t have trouble falling asleep, it’s just as great for a valentine who’d prefer to spend a lazy day in bed.
“As someone with eczema, consistent hormonal breakouts, and severely bleached hair, I’ve long relied on silk pillowcases to ensure I’m not pissing off fragile locks and unpredictable pores as I sleep,” writes Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton. She says these silk pillowcases are a perfect dupe for her more expensive Parachute pillowcase — and at $24 each, buying a pair won’t break the bank.
A worthy dupe of the more expensive Glerups, these memory-foam slippers have a wool-blend upper, plush fleece lining, and a rubber sole that will keep feet toasty and comfortable. They’re also machine-washable.
Recommended by gaming experts as one of the best two-player board games, this intermediate-level strategy game’s objective is to score more points than your opponent by winning more tricks. According to one expert, it features “really lovely art” that has a touch of fantasy.
These “teeny-tiny wands” have liquid-filled globes at one end; after popping them in the freezer and applying them to her cystic zits, our beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton found they visibly reduced the size of the pimples in minutes. She also said that the magic globes are great for de-puffing her face and eyes and for soothing headaches.
If they’re a candy fanatic, then they’ll appreciate this gigantic tub of sour belts that could theoretically last until the next Valentine’s Day.
As we reported a couple years ago, marzipan is cool again — Biagio Fortunato, the executive pastry chef of Fortunato Brothers bakery, reported a threefold increase in holiday sales and “an increase in the younger generation buying it.” This fruit-shaped set is a fun alternative to a box of chocolate.
If your valentine is cutting down on processed sugar but has always loved getting candy on Valentine’s Day, this one-pound raw honeycomb splits the difference. It’s entirely edible and can be enjoyed with cheese, on yogurt or ice cream, or just straight out of the box.
You can’t go wrong with chocolate, especially if it’s this trio of bars from Raaka, the Brooklyn-based chocolatier we hailed as one of the next status chocolates. “Raaka stands out through their use of unroasted cocoa beans” and their emphasis on single-origin chocolate, said Food52 assistant buyer Louise de Verteuil, which imparts a distinctive flavor.
A bottle of highly rated white-truffle-and-coriander-infused hot sauce that they can drizzle on practically everything.
To make sure their beard is always moisturized, get them this expert-recommended beard oil that’s formulated with jojoba and tea-tree oil.
This neon rose looks cool in a teenager’s room or behind a makeshift living-room bar. And it won’t die on them.
This cold-brew coffee maker, praised by experts for its ease of use, is compact and versatile — it can also be used to make iced tea.
This matcha powder comes recommended by Japanese confectionery chef Justin Iso, who describes it as “balanced with just a touch of bitterness and medium body.” To complete the gift, you can throw in this bamboo whisk that’ll get their matcha latte nice and frothy.
Expand their fermented food horizons with this book from Noma head chef René Redzepi and the restaurant’s former fermentation lab director Dave Zilber, recommended by chef Dave Park, which “digs deeper” into “major ferments, such as shoyu, vinegars, and miso.”
If all they want to do is kick back with their favorite saison or DIPA, get them this koozie that’ll keep their can ice cold.
This gingham-lined wicker basket includes dishes and flatware just for two — a nice break from wrangling all of your friends.
They can take an afternoon snooze in this camping hammock, which is light enough to pack in a backpack and wide enough for a couple.
A soft, simple, sophisticated, and logo-less cashmere beanie will keep their ears warmer.
A cute sheep from Strategist-favorite stuffed-animal brand Jellycat that your valentine can cuddle with when you’re out of town.
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